Among ancient India’s biggest gifts to the world, we must embrace it emphatically first
Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik has rightly advocated the need for giving benefits of ‘Ayurveda’ to the world. The 9th World Ayurveda Congress is being organised by the World Ayurveda Foundation with support of the Union Ministry of AYUSH and Government of Goa. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the valedictory session on December 11. “It (Ayurveda) is not just medicine, it’s our tradition. We need to give benefits of it to the world,” he said. “Ayurveda has been facilitated by the setting up of a separate Ministry of AYUSH, credit of which goes to Modi” Naik added. He also said that the Modi government took Yoga to the world. And that is perhaps where he was off the mark. Indeed the AYUSH ministry was formed to give fillip to the alternative medicines especially Ayurveda but has it achieved its objective is rather questionable. More than 5,000 delegates and 200 delegates from 30 countries are attending the congress. Though conclaves like this do help, the minister and the government at large should understand that it takes more than just words to make a system popular. Equating it to Yoga would be wrong as Yoga was already popular in the west and the credit for that certainly does not go to the government.
The Ministry of AYUSH is responsible for developing education, research and propagation of traditional medicine systems in India. The Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) was made into a ministry by the Modi Government in 2014. But in its eight years there is hardly anything that AYUSH can be proud of. It started with much fanfare but has delivered nothing. It promised 100 AYUSH hospitals across the country were proposed, an Institute of Naturopathy in Pune at the cost of Rs 1,000 crore and posting 4,000 AYUSH practitioners across the country. Perhaps the AYUSH ministry can throw some light on the progress made. Somewhere the ministry lost its sense of direction and got embroiled in unnecessary controversies with its advisories which were not backed by scientific research. It failed to provide an infrastructure for alternative medicine and create awareness about the alternative medicines. The minister would do well to come up with a viable plan to provide facilities for the alternative medicines. Before that happens it would be just lip service to a great cause by the union ministers, nothing more.